Voters in San Joaquin County will decide this election whether to tax cannabis businesses, but elected officials in the county are divided.
Measure B would impose a 3.5 to 8 percent tax on all commercial cannabis businesses. In the first year 30 percent of the revenue would go towards childhood programs, increasing to 50 percent after five years.
San Joaquin County Supervisors split 3-2 in support of the measure.
Supervisor Chuck Winn is against the measure, saying an increase in cannabis availability would lead to greater use by minors.
“Violent crime, other problems in regards to the environment as far as the water and certainly the contamination which is generated,” Winn says.
But Supervisor Kathy Miller says the county has to act to put a tax in place or pay for it afterward.
“If we are going to be able to regulate this, and proper controls are in place to protect our young people, we have to generate some revenue to do that," Miller says. "And if we don’t, then the taxpayers and the general fund will remain on the hook for enforcing the law for this new industry.”
Measure B itself does not permit commercial cannabis, only imposes a tax on future businesses. But Winn says voting the measure down will keep out the industry.
“Essentially this would pretty much prevent any of those businesses from operating because the county wouldn’t authorize it," Winn says. "If it doesn’t pass, then there is not the mechanism by which we can certify them.”
The local farm bureau and the city councils of Lodi, Ripon, and Escalon passed resolutions opposing the measure. In favor is the San Joaquin Children’s Alliance. The measure requires two-thirds voter approval to pass.